Sometimes water can be annoying. It can remind you of life’s ultimate unpredictability—you know it firsthand if you’ve ever unexpectedly stepped in something you hope is water on your kitchen floor in socks. Chrissie Lozano, singer and lyricist for Richmond-based psych-rock collective Piranha Rama, knows it too, though her own run-in was a bit more harrowing. “One day when I was driving through flood water on Highway 12 in North Carolina, it hit me,” she says. “You can’t outwit the shit that’s coming at you. You’ve just gotta get through.”
She passes on her epiphany in “Placate,” the new single from the band’s upcoming third LP Omniscient Cloud Cover, a synth-and-sax-soaked meditation on the virtue of treading water when the current threatens to sweep you away. “I think as artists, we get hung up on making magic when some days I’m just trying to make eye contact with my neighbors,” says Lozano.
Her vocals on the track invoke images of bobbing along a river of bedroom-pop atmospherics, buoyed by backup vocals from Reggie Pace (Bon Iver, No BS! Brass) and a horn solo by Gordon Jones (Black Masala). Then, as Tim Falen’s live drumming plunges in at the midpoint, you can hear Piranha Rama start to kick—making their slow and steady push through the deep.
“The album has a lot of moments where water shows up,” Lozano notes. “Water sustains, water destroys, being near the water can center us, we move over it, we believe we control it, you get the idea. In ‘Placate’ there’s a notion of choosing to drive into this unpredictable thing. All you can do is hope and try to keep it moving.”
Omniscient Cloud Cover comes out September 30 on Bob Nastanovich’s Brokers Tip Records. Piranha Rama’s 12-piece lineup will head out on the road soon after, including dates opening for Pavement this October.